Hallgrimskirkja, Reykjavik's Most Famous Church

Reykjavík Hallgrimskirkja, Reykjavik's Most Famous Church

Hallgrimskirkja (the church of Hallgrimur), is a Lutheran Church located in the city of Reykjavík. The towering structure stands 74 meters tall, making it Iceland’s tallest church, and the country’s sixth-tallest building overall. Architect,Guðjón Samúelsson, began sketching the blueprint of Hallgrimskirkja in 1937. His design was inspired by Icelandic basalt lava flows that layered over large stretches of the island, creating a landscape that took on the characteristic of stair steps. The structure is gracefully accented with elegant stained glass windows.

Construction spanned over four decades, breaking ground in 1945 to completion in 1986. In spite of the long construction period, the iconic tower was erected long before the church’s completion. Standing prominently in the heart of the city, the enchanting building is visible from various places in Reykjavík. Admission into the church is free, and for around 700 ISK (~$6), you can take a lift to the top of the massive structure and stand atop the viewing deck for a panoramic scene of the capital and its surrounding mountains.

The church encases a colossal pipe organ, standing at an enormous 15m tall and weighing an incredible 25 tons. The magnificent instrument Hallgrimskirkja Reykjavikcontains over 5,000 pipes, creating tones that fill the majestic building from top to bottom. During a summer visit, you can catch a concert four days a week: Wednesday choir performances are held at 12 noon, and organ recitals are performed Thursdays and Saturdays at 12 noon, as well as at 5pm on Sundays. On your way out, don’t forget to snap pictures with the statue of explorer, Leif Eriksson. The 1930s sculpture was a gift from the United States to commemorate the 1000th anniversary of Icelandic Parliament.

If you are staying at either Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Natura or Reykjavik Marina, getting to this church is an easy walk and well worth the time. Ask a receptionist for directions. Enjoy!

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